Vanderbilt is one win away from its first national title.
A big third inning which saw nine Commodores cross the plate enough -- barely -- as Vanderbilt defeated Virginia 9-8 in the first game of the College World Series Finals. The Commodores got a pair of big performances from unlikely sources, and for that, they are Monday's top performers.
Tyler Campbell, Vanderbilt
One game after hitting the game-winning single in the 10th inning to send Vanderbilt to the finals, Tyler Campbell had another big hit for the Commodores. He capped the Commodores' nine-run third inning with a bases-loaded double that scored all the runners and make the score 9-2. It was Campbell's second double of the inning, as he hit one with one out and came in to score on Vince Conde's walk. Don't forget that Campbell is only starting because Xavier Turner was ruled ineligible on Friday. "Against Texas the other night with the walk-off, I didn't feel I had a great game," Campbell said, "but I think that acutally helped me just to stay with my approach and try to hit balls hard on the ground. ... I feel like I'm seeing pitches well, so that is the best deal."
John Kilichowski, Vanderbilt
Entering the game in the sixth inning, freshman lefty John Kilichowski, who hadn't pitched since May 17, helped give the Commodores some stability. He worked a 1-2-3 sixth inning -- the first of the night for Vanderbilt -- and worked another in the seventh. He found himself in some trouble in the eighth with runners on second and third with one out, but got groundouts from John McCarthy -- thanks in part to Kilichowski deflecting the ball to shortstop Vince Conde with his foot -- and Derek Fisher to end the inning with Vanderbilt holding onto its 9-8 lead. "He's got a very good fastball and breaking ball," Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said. "We weren't able to use him at the end of the year because he was a little dinged up. Now he's healthy, and we feel like he's a good stopper for us, and certainly did that against a very good hitting team."